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ELECTRIC CRAYON SET
Laughing In The Clouds
(2019 - Psychotron Records - UK)
The first song sounds like a cross between the UK progressive rock band England, the Aussie prog rock band Airlord, XTC, and Split Enz. How is that for an introduction? The vocals are beautifully done both in lead and multi harmonies. If you are familiar with this Finnish multi-talented band, then you already know the skill level they possess. If not, by the end of this album you will. The second track ("Dreams of the Rain") gives a definite nod to The Beatles, (think Strawberry Fields Forever) and the listener begins to grasp the circles this group operates in. A fine mix of nostalgic psychedelic, Brit pop, incense and peppermint flavored flower child daze, and that touch of progressive rock that tends to bring it all together.
Their previous album 'What a Rotter of a Day' (2007) gave a hint of things to come, however this 3rd full length took them around six years to finalize. Also, the evolution from their debut 'One Man's Trash' (2001), which had a flow of soul, blues, psychedelic, and stood firm in the plentiful pop world, has gotten even broader. The use of some guest vocalists like Vilma Paakko (on 'Calling on the Cards') bring even bigger flavors. 'Ignis Fatuus' (track #4) takes you back to the 70's rock stylings of Ten Years After/Sugarloaf/Spooky Tooth, in those tripping times. You may even hear some Rolling Stones influence on a cut or two. Then you have 'After the Show' that defines any particular comparison in it's offbeat frame. That song features guests Katariina and Veera Lohiniva on vocals. Needless to say the sequence of songs is well done here. The music spreads a walkway that is both rocky, smooth, strange, and unpredictable. A great listen, in other words.
'Moonlit Graveyard, Pt. 1 & 2' brings the album to it's finale. A strange but beautiful mixture of Blood Sweat & Tears (without the horns), Jethro Tull, offshoots of Cardiac members, baroque pop, and proto progressive rock. It has everything a music lover could want. Strings, nice vocals, harmony and changes like Moody Blues at their most adventurous, and some mellotron Beatles style. First listen gives a person quite a surprise of throwback music and how well it is performed. It is tough to put a label in it, and no real need to. The assortment of music Electric Crayon Set bring together like a wondrous collage is what makes 'Laughing in the Clouds' a winner. The cover art expresses what is inside extremely well. With a total time of 43:58, and members including Timo Paakko (Guitar, Vocals), Seppo Tyni (Bass, Guitar), and Timo Lilja (Drums), with guests (some already mentioned) Pekka Tyni plays cembalo on 'Moonlit Graveyard', Juha Kormano plays the guitar solo on the title track 'Pete Is Laughing In The Cloud.' For older progressive fans, you will be interested to know both Seppo and Pekka Tyni played on some of Pekka Pohjola's (RIP) music who was originally known best as member of another famous Finnish band Wigwam (on Love Records), then went on to make a catalog of fantastic solo albums.
What Electric Crayon Set have done with this third album is show the world how great they are, and that they have the ability to write many styles of music all with the same high quality. It is available in different colors of vinyl, and of course download. The CD is a promo version but whatever format you buy, the music plays just as great. You will not have a chance to get bored. RECOMMENDED.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 1 - 31 -2020
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